KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Fifth seeded UVa-Wise lined 16 hits, hit two home runs, and extended its season long winning streak to 13 games with a 9-0, five inning, run-rule victory over fourth seeded Shawnee State University in the opening round of the Mid-South Conference Softball Tournament at Domtar Park.
Following two scoreless innings, the Cavaliers (32-19) jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-run home run from Mindy Combs.
An inning later, UVa-Wise’s Charity Lawson stepped to the plate with two runners aboard and none out. The backstop lifted a pitch to deep centerfield, Shawnee State (24-15) centerfielder Kelsey Jenkins raced to the fence in effort to catch the ball. Jenkins effort would be unsuccessful as she would tumble into the fence, knocking it down, as the ball sailed just out of her reach.
Lawson’s homer gave the Cavs a 6-0 lead and tied the school record for most home runs hit by a team with 40. UVa-Wise also hit 40 home runs in 2007 when the school advanced to the NAIA National Tournament.
The Cavs added a trio of runs for the third consecutive inning in the fifth frame. Natasha Dean led off the inning with an infield single but, was thrown out trying to advance to third on a base hit to left field by Allyssa Zebrowski. Later in the inning, Lawson singled in Zebrowski and Megan Dillion hit a two-out single up the middle to plate Lawson and Kristina Romualdo.
UVa-Wise had five players collect multiple hits in the win. Combs was 2-4, Dillion finished 3-4, Lawson had two hits in four at bats with four RBIs, Romualdo added a 3-3 day with two doubles and three runs scored, while Zebrowski lined two hits and scored twice.
Given an early lead, Rachel Hawks pelted the strike zone. The right hander would allow just four base runners in the complete game effort. The shutout was her fourth of the season as her record improved to 20-10 on the year.
The 20 wins are the most by a UVa-Wise pitcher since Dani Benton established the school record with 21wins in 2005.
Kelsey Jenkins and Brytan Givens were the only players to collect a hit for the Bears. Shawnee State will now play an elimination game at noon against the University of Pikeville.
UVa-Wise advances to face number one seed Lindsey Wilson College at 2:00 p.m. in one of two winner’s bracket games.